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Oil pipeline leak repair under way

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Royal Dutch/Shell workers saw the inch-thick steel casing surrounding the 40-inch diameter oil pipeline on Saturday to reveal the source of the leak found Friday about two miles east of RoEllen.

Dyersburg State Gazette: Oil pipeline leak repair under way

Dyersburg, Tennessee
Sunday, April 13, 2008 
A crack about the size of a dime was found as the source of the leak in a key oil pipeline on Saturday.

Emergency workers had toiled around the clock since the Friday afternoon discovery of petroleum that had seeped onto the surface of the company’s right-of-way, about two miles east of the RoEllen community.

The cause of the leak in the pipeline, titled “Capline,” was found about 6 p.m.

Royal Dutch/Shell Oil Co. incident commander Gary Stovall said a routine inspection revealed about 10 gallons of oil was found to have leaked at about 2 p.m. Friday on the north side of State Highway 104. Within minutes, the company shuttered the pipeline for safety and to find out what happened to the 40-inch diameter pipe, which carries a million gallons of petroleum from offshore rigs in the Gulf of Mexico to its terminus about 60 miles east of St. Louis, Mo.

The search began about 10 p.m. Friday, as a backhoe trencher removed the soil to expose the pipeline, buried five feet deep.

After identifying the leak, Stovall said the work shifted to repair mode.

The inch-thick steel casing around the pipeline was cut with a tungsten-coated saw. A replacement casing was brought from a Shell concern in Collierville on Saturday at about 7 p.m., and welding crews and X-ray technicians were expected on Sunday to begin the exacting work to attach the new protective conduit.

Iron girders were placed in the hole against the highway to shore the support as the work was under way.

Dyer County Sheriff’s deputies manned traffic points on Highway 104 through the weekend as Shell crews worked to find, and then repair, the damaged pipeline.

Stovall alerted the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency, which sent an inspector to the site on Friday to check the scene. An inspector from the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation checked the incident on Saturday, said TEMA spokesman Jeremy Heidt.

The pipeline, laid in 1963 in Dyer County, was the largest diameter pipeline in the U.S. until the construction of the 48-inch Alaska pipeline in the 1970s.

Three other pipelines, all carrying natural gas, run almost parallel in a two-mile wide swath in a line from near Brownsville to Obion.

A leak in the same pipeline in December 1999 on Highway 77 east of Newbern resulted in the loss of 90 barrels of crude oil. Property damage, including rebuilding a section of the state highway, cost Shell $1.665 million, said the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Office of Pipeline Safety.

The Capline pipeline is managed by Royal Dutch/Shell, but jointly owned by several large energy concerns. and its also non-profit sister websites,,,,, and are all owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia article.

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